South Tyneside set for cultural revolution after being named as priority area for Arts Council England

South Tyneside is set for a cultural revolution after being named among arts chiefs’ priority areas for development.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 11:51 am
South Tyneside has been named a priority area by Arts Council England.
South Tyneside has been named a priority area by Arts Council England.

From The Customs House and The Word to Arbeia and Jarrow’s Anglo-Saxon monastery site – the world-famous home of St Bede – the borough has some real cultural gems.

Add to that cultural exports such as Little Mix’s Jade and Perry, Joe McElderry, Sarah Millican and Chris and Rosie Ramsey, to name but a few, and chiefs feel there is good grounding to make more of the arts in the borough.

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Now Arts Council England has announced South Tyneside will be one of 15 priority places in the North where it wants to develop new opportunities for investment, as part of of its three-year Delivery Plan for 2021 - 2024.

The plan sets out a detailed roadmap to implement the vision of their strategy Let's Create: by 2030 England will be a country in which the creativity of each individual is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences.

It highlights where there are opportunities for investment, collaboration, and progress.

The news comes after South Tyneside has received £591,430 investment from the Arts Council through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund since the beginning of the pandemic.

Jane Tarr, director for the North at Arts Council England, said: “I am thrilled to announce that South Tyneside is among our 15 priority places across the North.

"The launch of our Delivery Plan, which sets out how we’ll implement our new 10-year strategy Let’s Create, and the announcement of our priority places will see us working closely with partners across South Tyneside to ensure that creativity and culture can play a key role in levelling up across the North.”

She added: “The local community is at the heart of South Tyneside’s cultural sector. I look forward to working with the sector and local authorities to build upon the fantastic work the creative organisations and individuals are doing in the region to ensure everyone has an opportunity to access excellent arts and culture.”

Councillor Joan Atkinson, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with special responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “We are delighted to be selected as a priority place by Arts Council England.

“Culture plays a hugely significant role in making South Tyneside such a special place to live, work and visit. It also has a positive impact on the health and well-being of residents, not to mention its contribution to the economy, jobs and tourism.

“We have some first-class heritage attractions, such as Arbeia Roman Fort and Jarrow Hall, as well creative groups and arts organisations, including the Customs House, that celebrate our rich and diverse culture and heritage. We also have a vibrant annual events programme, which attracts thousands of people every year.

“As in other areas, our cultural sector has really suffered during the pandemic. Being a priority place unlocks much-needed investment and support and this will go a long way in helping the borough to recover.”

She added: "It will also enable us to improve and showcase our cultural offer to wider audiences, giving more people the opportunity to enjoy inspiring high-quality cultural experiences that make a positive difference to their lives.”

A statement from Arts Council England after the news reads: “South Tyneside is a place with a huge opportunity, aided by new strategic, operational and political leadership in the borough, to drive up arts and cultural engagement from a relatively low base.

"In recent years The Word, the national centre for the written word, has opened and transformed both the libraries and cultural offer in South Shields.

“The Customs House alongside key events such as the summer parade, supported by grassroots carnival organisation the Creative Seed, and the successful South Tyneside festival events show the potential for further growth of culture and creativity in the region. The area also benefits from existing historic assets including Jarrow Hall and Arbeia Roman Fort.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic South Tyneside has received £591,430 investment from the Arts Council through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

“These places have been chosen through a set of criteria based on a review of current public investment and opportunities to engage with creative and cultural activity. Each of the priority places are ambitious to drive positive change through culture.”

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